Former President Donald Trump appeared with new “Meet the Press” host, Kristen Welker, for a wide-ranging interview in which Trump was patently himself. During the hour-plus interview Trump was defiant and evasive – and still harping about the 2020 election.
But Trump also refused to commit to policy positions on contentious issues, giving himself “wiggle room” on issues like abortion, Ukraine, interest rates, and the ongoing GOP effort to impeach President Joe Biden.
“In totality, Trump’s interview with NBC News highlighted the duality of the candidate who is the overwhelming favorite to win the GOP presidential nomination and challenge the Democrats next fall,” NBC reported. “On one hand, he is carving out a policy-messaging lane fit for the general election, while on the other, he is as combative as ever about the charges he faces and his role in lessening the trust Americans have not only in their bedrock institutions but in democracy itself.”
Here are a few key takeaways from the interview.
Donald Trump on abortion
Trump advised his GOP counterparts to stop promoting total abortion bans. Smart move, because total abortions bans are unpopular, even in deep red states as Kansas demonstrated last year.
“I watch some of [my GOP colleagues] without the [abortion] exceptions, et cetera, et cetera,” Trump said. “I said, ‘Other than certain parts of the country, you can’t – you’re not going to win on this issue. But you will win on this issue when you come up with the right number of weeks.’”
Trump would not clarify exactly how many weeks he felt was an appropriate cut-off. Trump also avoided clarifying whether he believed abortion should be decided at the state or federal level.
Trump on prison
Trump told Welker that he is not worried about going to prison.
“I don’t even think about it,” Trump said. “I’m built a little differently I guess, because I have had people come up to me and say, ‘How do you do it, sir? How do you do it?’ I don’t even think about it.”
Trump is facing 91 criminal indictments in four separate trials. Prison is technically a possible outcome. But it seems like a long-shot that the former president is going to end up behind bars.
“When you say, do I lose sleep? I sleep,” Trump said. I Sleep. Because I truly feel that, in the end, we’re going to win.”
Trump on democracy
Welker asked Trump whether he believes democracy “is the most effective form of government.”
Trump said yes, with a clarification.
“I do. I do. But it has to be a democracy that’s fair,” Trump said. “This democracy – I don’t consider us to have much of a democracy right now.”
Donald Trump continued, explaining that the US’s form of democracy was unfair because of the indictments he is currently facing and because of the way the media was portraying him.
“People understand what’s going on,” Trump said. “We need a media that’s free and fair. And frankly, if they don’t have that, it’s very, very hard to straighten out our country.”
The interview will be received like everything Trump-related is received. The left will wring their hands over the continued relevance of their public enemy number one. The right will celebrate their demagogue. And ultimately, Trump is likely going to cruise to his third consecutive GOP nomination.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.
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